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Modern Man in Search of a Soul by C. G. Jung

Modern Man in Search of a Soul (1933)

by C. G. Jung

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Haven't quite finished it yet, but I'm giving it a solid four. It's Jung. It's all about the dreams. That's all I want to say. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
It's been almost eighty years since Carl Jung wrote "Modern Man in Search of a Soul," so it's not really surprising that some of the book's value is purely historical. Jung spends a lot of time carefully differentiating psychology from medical and arguing for its rigorousness and relevance. Even though a lot of this material will seem familiar to Western readers who've grown up in "psychologized" societies, it's still genuinely heartwarming to witness Jung's enthusiasm for psychic exploration. I get the impression that he saw the unconscious as a genuinely undiscovered territory brimming with wonders yet to be described. He was one of the founders of the science he described, but in "Modern Man," he makes it clear that he couldn't even venture a guess at all that the psyche contains. His sense of wonder is contagious; if nothing else, these essays remind the reader of the vast depth of the self and of the sheer variety of human experience.

The sections that I found most of "Modern Man in Search of a Soul" that I found most interesting were contained in the essays "Archaic Man" and "The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man." Part of this book's project seems to be to nudge Western, scientific models of the self from their preeminent position at the very center of modernity, and Jung writes sensitively of the time that he spent with indigenous tribes in sub-Saharan Africa and the American West. These experiences led Jung to conclude that the psyche exists, in a sense, both inside and outside ourselves. In his view, modern man's dependence on natural science to describe the physical world necessitated the development of an unconscious. In earlier eras, religion or an active relationship with the spirit world did the work that we now attribute to our unconscious self. Hysterias and many other common mental disorders, then, might be understood as externalized psychological objects. I found Jung's inversion of the usual psychological schematic – his contention that a person's unconscious is just one psychological object in a world filled with them – to be absolutely thrilling, an enormous idea and one that might change the way I look at myself and others. These essays, which are, as the jacket copy promises, accessible to the lay reader, bear repeated readings. If Jung believed in anything, he believed in the vastness and complexity of the self. With this in mind, it might just take a few decades for me to figure out how some of his ideas apply to my own day-to-day experience. ( )
1 vote TheAmpersand | Dec 24, 2011 |
A quote from this book:
"Among all my patienrs in the second half of life, that is, over thirty-five, there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook."
  Anne0729 | Apr 13, 2009 |
  Nicktee1949 | Mar 28, 2007 |
on loan from irk.
  heidilove | Nov 30, 2005 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. G. Jungprimary authorall editionscalculated
Baynes, Cary F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dell, W. S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The use of dream-analysis in psychotherapy is still a much-debated question.
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The Swiss psychologist discusses such aspects of analytical psychology as dream analysis and the primitive unconscious.

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